The honey badger (Mellivora capensis) is a mammal that can be found in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and India. Also known as the ratel, the honey badger is found in all South African provinces, except the Free State. The Latin name: Mellivora capensis translates as “honey eater of the Cape”, but they are primarily carnivorous.
It is a known fact that honey badgers like to raid wild honey bee nests and beehives, but did you know that it’s not actually the honey that they’re after! Yes, they most certainly will eat some of the honey stored in combs, but research have shown that what they’re really after is the brood (the larval form of bees) inside the hive or nest!
Despite its name, the honey badger does not closely resemble other badger species; instead, it looks more like an overgrown weasel. They have a few natural predators because of their thick skin (which is 6mm thick), strength, and ferocious ability to defend themselves. The honey badger was named the ‘most fearless animal in the world’ in the 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records.
These animals are built for battle, not speed. Honey badgers have powerful 4 cm long claws, and teeth that are strong enough to crack a tortoise shell, making these small creatures a formidable opponent.
For such a small animal honey badgers have enormous brains. They are one of Africa’s smartest creatures, capable of tricking their captors and escaping any man-made trap.
Some of our residents at Likweti Bushveld Farm Estate have been fortunate enough to spot these magnificent animals enjoying life in the Lowveld bushveld.